What a lovely read. The language was lovely, almost lyrical. Very little actually happens but the author takes us on such a journey that we believe so much has happened. This is a relatively short review, simply to resist giving away the pieces of the book you should enjoy by reading it yourself.
Elio is a young man falling for an older man who is visiting his house over the summer. The story slowly builds into an obsession. The tension is built through everything that is thought but never happens. Like any good story, eventually the tension is released. There are moments where I had to keep reminding myself different time, different place. Elio and his love interest are seven years apart; as adults the age difference is minor, but as a 17-year-old lusting for a 24-year-old, there is something different. Apparently, that is largely the point.
Told from Elio’s point of view, we’re reminded how fickle a teenagers mind can be. And then how sure of himself he can be. The deeply believed oscillating views of a teenage brain come through beautifully. He feels everything deeply, including his doubt. Will they, won’t they, and how quickly the reader goes from rooting for them and then rooting against them and then back are a testament to the powerful language used to pull us in.
The first three sections of the book were slow and charming. It felt like we experiences every hour and every day of an Italian summer. The last section, even the last part of the last section, sped through years, bringing a satisfying emotional conclusion to the characters’ stories. It was a true emotional rollercoaster with few solid actions, but a lovely landscape to meander through.